There’s a glamorous new exhibition at Kensington Palace featuring three royal women whose style inspired a generation.
Five rooms of elegant displays explore how the wardrobes of The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales reflected the fashion rules of 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Chosen from clothes worn in the decades when each woman was at her most fashionable, the garments reflect the spirit of each decade and will definitely bring back memories of the years you remember. I write this as someone who remembers padded shoulders and dropped waists very fondly and whose engagement ring is definitely an homage to the one worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Fashion Rules exhibition begins with The Queen’s dresses from the 1950’s and moves through the decades, sharing film, photographs and quotes, along with beautifully preserved pieces from three iconic royal wardrobes.
Each piece demonstrates how the wearer balanced style, the fashion ‘rules’ of the day and royal protocol. For example, light colours were almost always chosen by The Queen in the 1950’s as they showed up better in black and white photographs. Lighter shades also stand out well in a crowd. Although she often chose brighter colours, Princess Diana still followed this rule from time to time.
Described by Louis Armstrong as “one hip chick”, the pieces from Princess Margaret’s wardrobe reflect the (relatively) greater freedom she enjoyed in her role.
The plunging halter neckline featured in this dress was a real departure from traditional royal style. To add to the excitement, Princess Margaret was photographed smoking a cigarette while wearing this dress. While many women smoked in 1951, the Princess may well have been one of the first – and possibly last – royal ladies to be photographed smoking!
The beading and detailing on these gorgeous clothes has to be seen to be believed. Curators at Historic Royal Palaces have lovingly cared for and restored many of these gowns, so they can be seen at their absolute best in Fashion Rules.
Don’t miss this wonderful collection of vintage Royal fashion at Kensington Palace.
Admission to the Fashion Rules exhibit is included in your Kensington Palace admission ticket. For more information, please visit the
Historic Royal Palaces website.